CABI first established a centre in India in 1948, and has been working in the region ever since.
South Asia is agriculture-oriented – more than 50% of the population is engaged in agriculture as its primary occupation. The region produces some key food security crops, and is responsible for feeding a significant proportion of the world.
CABI’s centre in India works to improve the lives of local people and communities in the region, through a variety of methods. It helps smallholder farmers to improve the quality and quantity of their crops, enabling them to achieve better prices, and works to increase opportunities for trade. It also provides training and access to knowledge for farmers that will help them to improve crop quality whilst safeguarding the environment.
Specific programmes include the regional implementation of CABI's global Plantwise initiative, which aims to help farmers lose fewer crops to pests and diseases, and thus increase their yields. The use of safe biological controls is encouraged, and trained extension workers hold free advisory plant clinics for farmers in the local area.
The centre also runs an innovative information service called Direct 2 Farm (D2F). D2F provides agro-advisory services to farmers in the region via the mobile phone network (a key method of communication in developing countries). Through D2F farmers can access high quality bite-sized pieces of information, as SMS or voice messages, on demand via their mobile. It’s a practical, effective way of delivering the knowledge farmers need to solve their everyday agricultural problems.
The centre collaborates with a number of public, private and governmental bodies across the region, to enable the effective and efficient implementation of programmes, and to enable impact to be studied. Work so far has yielded tangible economic and social benefits for the local communities, as well as the environment.
Future aims include the establishment of a sustainable CABI presence in each country of the region, and attracting sustainable investment funding for the centre’s various agriculture and environment initiatives.
CABI is a leading publisher of agriculture, environment and public health products across India and southern Asia, including CAB Abstracts, to which all 140+ ICAR institutes and agricultural universities subscribe either individually or through the CeRA consortium.
CABI’s direct publishing sales operations were established in India in Oct 2009 to service institutional and academic subscribers, distributors and partners across the region and is headed by Mr Manish Singh.